Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James W. Cook and Co

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of Wivenhoe, Colchester

James W. Cook and Company, a London based organisation founded in the mid 19th century operated as wharfingers and lightermen on the Thames. The company also built barges and repaired tugs etc., at Orchard Wharf. In addition they had diversified into general haulage, garage ownership and building work.

1897 The company was registered on 19 May, to amalgamate the businesses of James W. Cook and Co, warehousemen and wharfingers, and Ross and Deering, lightermen. [1] The first vessel was yard Number 1001 motor tug ‘Cloudy’

WWII In the early years of the 1939/45 war Vosper took over the yard as a ‘shadow’ facility for the building of Motor Torpedo Boats and the repair of various coastal forces craft. At the end of the conflict Vosper no longer needed the extra capacity and left leaving an expanded yard which had a large shed with 4 slipways plus a further covered slip for larger vessels and a wet berthing basin.

1947 Seeing the ‘downstream’ yard vacant and for sale Cooks decided to buy it. This purchase plus 10 acres of adjoining land was completed in March 1947.

1948 To operate the yard a new company James W. Cook & Co., (Wivenhoe) Ltd., was incorporated in January 1948

1958 the Cook's interests were bought up by William Cory and Son. The yard then made river barges along with coasters, hoppers and tugs.

1970s In the 70s the yard was part of the Ocean Transport and Trading Group.

1980s It was then taken over in the early 80s by a small private company

1986 It went out of business. Since 1947 512 vessels of all types had been built. The last vessel was yard number 1515 allocated to the Pass International tug destined for Ghana; numbers 1050, 1174 and 1175 were not used.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
  • [1] www.wivenhoe.gov.uk
  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908